Just few weeks back, ZTE launched their flagship device, the Axon 7 in Malaysia and I managed to grab one to use for the last 2 weeks. Before I share my thoughts, let’s just say that I have been looking forward to touch it even before they release it here cos I was attracted by the design and overall outlook of the phone.

As usual, I would look at 5 different aspects when it comes to reviewing a new phone. First up, built and outlook.

BUILT & OUTLOOK

The unit I have is Ion Gold. It’s basically ZTE’s version of ‘gold’. The colour is not too strong, which is exactly how I like the gold colour to be.

It’s full metal and is only 7.9mm thick. I like the roundness of the back of the phone making it feel very comfortable when held. According to ZTE, the Axon 7 was designed by BMW studios. Not sure how this statement helps in promoting the device but I personally think it’s very well made. Combined with the weight, this device definitely gives out a premium feeling.

I realised that it’s not as high contrast and colourful as the screen on S7 Edge.

SCREEN & DISPLAY

The iPhone 7 Plus has a full HD display, that’s 1080p. If you think that’s hi-res enough, then the Axon 7 will impress you even further. The 5.5″ screen on the Axon 7 has a 2K (1920×1440) resolution AMOLED display!

Colours look very vibrant and contrast is good. As much as I love the screen, I realised that it’s not as high contrast and colourful as the screen on S7 Edge. But it’s only a very small difference and is only obvious when you compare both side by side.

To give you a better understanding, I would say that the display on the ZTE is somewhere in between the iPhone and the S7 Edge, but a very close distance to the latter.

CAMERA

ZTE seems to be quite proud of the camera on this device. That’s probably cos it has a 20MP camera. If you ask me, numbers won’t make justice if the photo quality is bad. I didn’t expect the camera to perform as good as the Galaxy S7 Edge anyway because the Axon 7 cost only about 60% of the price of that Samsung device.

But guess what? The camera is GOOD!
Focusing is quick, objects are sharp, colours are vibrant and it has manual settings as well! Here are some sample photos taken side by side with the Galaxy S7 Edge. All photos were taken using Auto mode, unedited. You can click on them to enlarge and have a look.

ZTE Axon 7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

One thing to note though. The Axon 7 still loses when it comes to shooting in the dark. The S7 Edge captures more light and manage to maintain almost zero noise.

The biggest super power is the dual speakers powered by Dolby Atmos.

BATTERY & PERFORMANCE

The battery in this thing is big! At 3250mAH, it could actually last me though out the day (without any game playing + minor video streaming). It has fast charging 3.0 so in case you need that quick charge you can.

No wireless charging though. But that’s still a luxury feature for now.

Gameplay is smooth too! Not to mention apps run smoothly and interface change is snappy without any problems.
To be honest, we shouldn’t face any problems with flagship devices anymore in 2016 since hardware has advanced so much since the yesteryears.

LOUD, MASSIVE, STUNNING, SURROUND & I-LIKE-IT!

SUPER POWERS!

The biggest super power (and also it’s biggest unique selling point) is the dual speakers powered by Dolby Atmos. The big speaker grills are located on both ends of the phone, facing the user.

Here are 5 words to describe the sound quality of the dual speakers: LOUD, MASSIVE, STUNNING, SURROUND & I-LIKE-IT!

Stereo speakers are not something new. We have seen it on most HTC devices (Boomsound) and the recent Nexus devices but this is a class of its own.

This might not be considered a super power since most of the smartphones now have it, but the fingerprint scanner works really well and takes less than half a second to recognise my fingerprint and instantly unlocks the phones.

The launcher is very cusomizable as well. We can long press the home screen to have access to the settings like transition effects, themes-wallpapers-icons selections and more. I like how they have this option for us to dock icons that we want to move on a palette which we can then transfer them to another homescreen page.

There are also some nifty gestures packed in. Double tap to wake up screen, 3-finger pinch to take a screenshot, shaking the phone to turn on torchlight and more. To be honest these are just gimmicky features that I won’t consider when deciding if a device is good or not.

But they’re fun to play with. 😀

Click this video if you prefer to see me talk and show you some stuff about the phone.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

With the rapid emerging of phones from China, it’s really hard for these players to stand out amongst the rest but ZTE has definitely made a name for themselves with the Axon 7. With the price of around RM1.9K, it can easily beat the Huawei P9 and OnePlus 3 hands down.

Apart from phone specs itself, ZTE is also giving a 1+1 warranty service and FOC 1st repair for screen damage and water damage. Definitely a great value add for all Axon 7 purchases.

If you are looking for a great looking phone, packed with features, great camera and display, all in an affordable package, well… this is it. You won’t go wrong.

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